Petition to Department of Justice:
Millions of Americans rely on their local TV stations for important news and information. If allowed to proceed, the Sinclair–Tribune merger would give Sinclair Broadcasting Group a veritable monopoly on local news. Sinclair is known to force its local stations to provide slanted coverage of politics and world events, and muscle out local coverage in favor of “must-run” segments that reflect the political leanings of its ownership. Americans have a right to unbiased news and diverse points of view. Please block the Sinclair–Tribune merger.
Sinclair Broadcasting Group is “the most dangerous company most Americans haven’t heard of,” in the words of former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. “No one company should have such power over the news and information that citizens must have.”1
But that’s exactly what will happen if Sinclair’s bid to purchase Tribune Media is allowed to go through. Sinclair already owns 173 local TV stations – more than any other company in the United States. If allowed to buy Tribune Media, Sinclair will have access to 72% of the American local TV news market – a veritable monopoly.
Even conservative outlets like Glenn Beck’s The Blaze and One America News are speaking out against this merger.2
Tell the Department of Justice: Block the Sinclair–Tribune merger!
Sinclair made headlines this past election when it was revealed that it made a deal with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, to get special access to the campaign.3 An analysis of the company’s election commentary and segments show a strong tilt in favor of Trump.4
2016 isn’t the first time Sinclair has used its enormous platform to support policies it likes or influence the outcome of presidential elections.
In 2004, Sinclair forbid its ABC affiliates from airing a Nightline broadcast that read aloud the names of every service member killed in Iraq, claiming the sole purpose of the exercise was to hurt then-President George W. Bush. That same year, Sinclair planned to air a documentary questioning Democratic nominee John Kerry’s war record, before reversing course under public pressure.5
During the 2010 midterms, it distributed an infomercial paid for by a Republican PAC claiming President Obama raised money from Hamas, and in 2012, it aired an Election-eve special in four battleground states attacking Obama and the Affordable Care Act.6
It’s clear Sinclair is not in the business of producing the best possible local news coverage, but in using its vast platform to further the political beliefs of its owners. A merger between Sinclair and the Tribune would be a disaster for consumers and bad for our democracy.
Tell the Department of Justice: Stop the Sinclair–Tribune Merger!
1. Huffington Post, “This Sinclair-Tribune Merger Is A Rotten Deal For America,” September 6, 2017.
4. Washington Post, “How the nation's largest owner of TV stations helped Donald Trump's campaign,” December 22, 2016.
5. Huffington Post, “This Sinclair-Tribune Merger Is A Rotten Deal For America,” September 6, 2017.